The build-up to tomorrow night’s SAS Fox Memorial grand final saw the two opponents Mount Albert and Howick come up big winners at the 2019 Auckland Rugby League awards on Wednesday night.
The grand final is the curtain-raiser to the Vodafone Warriors’ final home game of the NRL season on Friday. It kicks off at 5.30 pm followed by the Vodafone Warriors facing South Sydney at 8.00 pm.
Mount Albert’s John Ackland was named men’s coach of the year on the back of leading the Lions to the grand final.
After making the grand final for just the second time and winning the Rukutai Shield for taking out the minor premiership, the Howick Hornets was awarded the club of the year accolade.
Mt Albert standoff Eiden Ackland and Howick hooker Jethro Friend – both former Vodafone Warriors under-20 players – had successful nights. Not only were they named player of the year for their clubs, but they were also were bestowed with the George Rainey Medal for making the SAS Fox Memorial premiership Team of the Year.
Mount Albert centre Melino Fineanganofo, another ex-Vodafone Warriors under-20 player, was also included in the SAS Fox Memorial premiership team of the year as were Howick prop Clayton Williams – who has played Canterbury Cup for the Vodafone Warriors this year – and centre Roydon Gillett.
Mount Albert finished the season with the Roope Rooster, after winning it twice in the season. After initially taking it off Glenora, then losing it at home to Howick, the Lions then took it back off Howick at the Hornets’ home ground in the final game of the regular season.
Now the Lions and the Hornets go after the big prize, hoping to cap off their seasons with the Fox Memorial premiership title. After a close season, the game could go either way guaranteeing a high-quality grand final.
TIMINGS | FRIDAY, AUGUST 30
5.15pm | Gates open
5.30pm | SAS Fox Memorial Grand Final | Mt Albert Lions v Howick Hornets
8.00pm | Vodafone Warriors v South Sydney Rabbitohs
ARL 2019 AWARDS
Awards won by grand finalists Mount Albert and Howick:
Club of the Year | Howick
Rukutai Shield | Howick (minor premiership)
Roope Rooster | Mount Albert
SAS Fox Memorial premiership coach of the year | John Ackland (Mount Albert)
SAS Fox Memorial Premiership Club Players of the Year
Howick | Jethro Friend
Mount Albert | Eiden Ackland
George Rainey Medal for SAS Fox Memorial Premiership Team of the Year
Centre | Roydon Gillett (Howick)
Centre | Melino Fineanganofo (Mount Albert)
Standoff | Eiden Ackland (Mount Albert)
Prop | Clayton Williams (Howick)
Hooker | Jethro Friend (Howick)